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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2005-2007 Xterra appears to have a widespread defect where coolant leaks into the transmission, causing transmission failure around 90,000 miles. Repair costs are typically upwards of $3,500.

The same defect exists in the Pathfinder & Frontier as well. And according to the New York Times & a class action lawsuit, the defect actually extends through 2010 model year. More info here.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
104,546 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2006 Nissan Xterra engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #45

Sep 152014


  • 94,000 miles


Began hearing a whining noise from engine, increasing with RPM. Took to dealership, who indicated it was bad timing chain tensioner shoes/guides. Service advisor indicated this is a very common issue, and Nissan redesigned the parts since the originals were found to wear through, allowing the timing chain to rub directly on the metal post of the tensioner. The timing chain system should last for the life of the engine, not require a $1700 repair only about halfway through the engine life. This is also a very unsafe situation, since a timing chain failure could quickly destroy the engine, leaving the car without engine power out on the road. This should be a recall.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #44

Oct 072014


  • 117,350 miles
Vehicle suddenly stopped changing gears while on a main road where speed limit is 55 mph. Turned onto a smaller country road, could not accelerate more than 20 mph, and slowly descended from there until finally coming to a complete stop. Cracked radiator caused coolant leak into transmission fluid causing many systems to fail. In turn, had to replace radiator and completely rebuild and flush transmission several times ($4400 expense). Had I been on a major highway or interstate when this happened, there would have been a much more serious out come.

- Madison Heights, VA, USA

problem #43

Sep 282014


  • 171,000 miles
While driving 70 miles an hour on the highway my car suddenly shot up to 4000 RPM and wouldn't go faster than 30 miles an hour. After my car was towed to a local mechanic friend of mine's shop he told me the radiator had cracked, leaked coolant into the transmission, fried the transmission and torque control valve, all valves and seals, as well as both catalytic converters. The cost to fix would be $6000. Nissan needs to pay for this because of their factory defect!!!

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #42

Aug 112014


  • 78,000 miles


Check engine light came on so I took it to an autozone to have the code read. PO463, fuel sending unit. Did some research, called Nissan corporate to inform them of the issue and see if I was eligible for extended warranty (wasn't covered). Nissan corporate informed me that I was eligible for ECM relay replacement at no cost at a dealership, so I took the car to a dealership that quoted me lowest on the fuel sensor repair. They asked if I had other issues and I told them that my engine sometimes sounded like an rc car. They offered to look into it, called this afternoon after completing work on sensor and ECM relay to inform me that my timing chains were shot and in need of immediate replacement. Did some more research and found this is a frequent issue in Nissan cars, decided to file a report

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #41

Jul 192014


  • 131,000 miles
The radiator leaks coolant into the transmission. Consequently both the transmission and the radiator has to be replaced.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #40

Jul 172014


  • 133,000 miles
I was driving on a regular one way street, when my check engine light came on and smoke came from under the hood. By the way, this happened on my wedding day. Anyyways, I had the car towed to a car shop to find out the radiator bursted causing the coolant and transmission fluid to mix, my transmission is ruined and needs to be replaced, my radiator needs to be replaced, the fluids got into my water pump which also needs to be replaced. The complete cost for damages is $7500. Now I am out of a car and cant trade it in because it is not worth anything at this point. After reading all the complaints I see many others have faced this problem, there needs to be a recall on these faulty radiators in the 2006 Nissan Xterras.

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #39

Jul 042014


  • 137,000 miles


Driving down the road and car started shuttering and over heated got out of car and there was milky trans fluid every were

- Proctorville , OH, USA

problem #38

Jun 302014


  • 101,000 miles
There was recall for vehicles similar in year as my car. The recall was # 10V517000 and was for the "intelligent power distribution module (ipdm)". I called Nissan America, and although many vehicles of my year and make/model were affected, my VIN # was not included. I should have ben included on this recall because this is exactly what part was defective and exactly what I had to pay for to get fixed. I was even driving when it stalled out on me numerous times and I am thankful it was not on the freeway. If possible I would like to be acknowledged and potentially be reimbursed by Nissan.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #37

Mar 302014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
While on a business trip away from home noticed the heater stopped blowing warm air. A few minutes later engine temperature spiked but then returned to normal. 50 miles later heater started working again. Took the car to a local mechanic and discovered transmission cooler within the radiator had failed, allowing the radiator coolant to mix with the transmission fluid. Paid for the replacement of the radiator/transmission cooler, system flush. Had the system flushed again 1 week after radiator replacement. Transmission now acting erratically, particular when shifting between 3rd and 4th gear. Initial assessments by mechanic suggests transmission and transmission computer require replacement. Cost of replacement exceeds the value of car even though the rest of the car is in excellent condition.

- Dobson, NC, USA

problem #36

Apr 012014


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 65 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle failed to restart and was coasted to a safe location. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the ECM relay was replaced. In 2011, the vehicle was repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 10V517000 (engine and engine cooling). The contact had not previously experienced a failure at the time the vehicle was repaired under the recall. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 68,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #35

Feb 242014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 86,500 miles


Nissan will not step up and fix their mistake, our car is at 87000 miles and the coolant is leaking into the transmission due to how Nissan configured their system from the years of 2006 - 2009. When I spoke with [xxx] at Nissan Consumer Affairs he intimated that Nissan is not aware of this being a major issue, but interestingly enough stopped using this configuration in 2010. They claim that it will not happen to every Nissan, we need more consumers to come forward, so that this will become a "recall". the system is faulty it may not happen at 80,000 / 90,000 / 100,000, but count on it happening at some point. This is a very expensive repair. If Nissan had communicated to us that the warranty covering this transmission failure was extended to 80,000 but of course why would they admit to a faulty system, and let their valued customers know. Simple they do not value their customers, they lost this group. Way to go Nissan, somewhere down the line this will hurt you. Signed-disgusted information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #34

Mar 142013


  • 150,000 miles
Started over a year ago that while driving the motor would just stop running, would have to coast to the side if the road without power steering or brakes. I took it into the shop and they couldn't find out the problem. Now that my transmission is starting to shake and make noise, I took it to the dealer. They told me that my radiator is making into the transmission and that makes the motor quit and loss of power. I am informed that I need a new radiator and transmission. Looking online I see that there are a lot of people with this sane safety issue and that there is no recall. I think that there should be a recall because it's safety alone! I almost hit a car and a pedestrian while trying to steer off the road and stop. Please help with a recall!! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Menan, ID, USA

problem #33

Feb 182014


  • 109,000 miles
The transmission started to slip, turns out the atf was contaminated by the radiator failing and leaking coolant into the transmission. This was determined by the dealer and of course it was out of warranty. I replaced the radiator and the transmission is being worked on by a transmission shop to the tune of several thousand dollars. The contamination ruined at least all clutch plates, the bands, and the torque converter.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #32

Feb 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
Transmission went out. While driving on highway, rpms went up and car would not move. Diagnosis was new transmission and radiator. Seems to be a problem with 2006 Nissan Xterras with low mileage.

- Arvada, CO, USA

problem #31

Sep 052012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 106,673 miles
The transmission in my vehicle began to slip. I had aamco and Nissan investigate the problem and both companies determined that the coolant from the radiator had leaked into the transmission. This caused the vehicle to become inoperable.

- Salem, MA, USA

problem #30

Jan 282014


  • 164,000 miles
Transmission failure on highway. Car stopped working going 65 mph. Radiator fluid leaked into transmission.

- Wallkill, NY, USA

problem #29

Aug 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 67,000 miles
Premature wear of the secondary timing chain guides could lead to engine failure durring use and incurs expensive repairs well before the end of life of the timing chains which is much longer than the useable life of a belt.

- Denville, NJ, USA

problem #28

Dec 162013


  • 80,600 miles
Driving South on the Florida turnpike, our Nissan X-terra would not change speed at 40 miles per hour and it appeared that the transmission could not change. The slip indicator light went on. This situation happened approximately three times, after each incident we had to stop on the side of the highway. Finally after the third attempt the vehicle picked up speed. When we got home, I checked the transmission fluid and it had what appeared to be water. I checked the radiator cap, and instead of liquid the mixture seemed to be a creme paste, like it had oil. Searching in google, I found that there was a lawsuit brought again Nissan for this defect. However today at bill seidle's Nissan in miami, I was told that there is a co-payment of $2,500. This is outrageous, since the problem was created by Nissan and not by the owner of the vehicle.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #27

Feb 122011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,347 miles
I really do not know where to begin. My truck would not start 8/26/13. I learned that the dreaded radiator coolant leak had finally destroyed my transmission computer system and transmission. I first learned that this could become a problem in February of 2011 when my vehicle was at about 96,300 miles. The Nissan dealership gave me a number to call, I did and was told at that time that I could pay $6000 out of pocket and possibly be reimbursed later as my vehicle VIN was not in the current list of vehicles being offered the "special warranty coverage". I was given a case number and told I would be mailed information about all future matters regarding this problem. I did not have $6000 then, I do not have $3000 now. That is the amount of the deductible the Nissan dealer says I would be responsible for paying if Nissan honors the time I initially reported this problem to them. I need some help. My husband is active duty navy and I kept this vehicle serviced and did everything I was supposed to do to make sure this vehicle stayed in great condition and now I have a vehicle that is no longer working. I hope you can help us.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #26

Dec 062013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,950 miles
On December 06, 2013, while merging onto the highway, my gray in color, 2006 Nissan Xterra, completely lost all motive power & failed to shift gears, simply revving out in 2nd gear. It should be noted, my 2006 Nissan Xterra is the 4X4, automatic transmission & had around 99,950 miles at the time. The incident put myself, my wife, and my eight month old baby girl in danger due to the fact we had no where to exit the highway & were quickly slowing down in traffic. This incident almost caused an accident because I was unable to accelerate to get out of the way of the faster highway traffic. It has since come to my attention that Nissan is aware of this issue and that it is caused by the radiator leaking coolant into the transmission causing the transmission fluid to mix with the radiator fluid, effectively destroying the transmission. I was able to slowly work the rpms up & get the transmission to shift up a few gears so we could make it off the highway. I then contacted my local Nissan dealer who advised that Nissan was aware of the issues and have extended the warranty to 100,000 mi. He informed me that to replace the transmission & the radiator it would cost approximately $7000, however, if I was under 100,000 mi, I would only have to pay a $3,000 deductible. Because I had passed the 100,000 mile mark by driving my vehicle back home, I was no longer eligible for this extended warranty. I've owned my Nissan Xterra for over 6 years & have made sure to stay current on all the routine maintenance. The fact that Nissan is not only aware of these issues (which have allegedly affected thousands of Nissan owners), but also that they have failed to take any corrective action, is simply unacceptable & also downright dangerous. It is one thing for Nissan to not stand behind their product, but it is wrong for them to knowingly allow their product to put people's lives in danger.

- Prescott Valley, AZ, USA

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